Sunday, January 10, 2010

Unprecedented US-Mexico border cooperation: ambassador

(AFP) – 1 day ago
MEXICO CITY — Mexico and the United States currently have an unprecedented level of cooperation on fighting crime on their common border, the Mexican ambassador to the United States said here Friday.
Arturo Sarukhan said it was important to continue "this unprecedented cooperation established with the administration of President (Barack) Obama," at a meeting of Mexican ambassadors and consuls in Mexico City.
Sarukhan underlined that, despite the financial crisis, the US Congress has approved some 1.3 billion dollars for Mexico under the regional three-year Merida Initiative, a joint plan to fight organized crime.
The United States had started to show "important results" in its capacity to reduce the trafficking of arms and money south of the border, he said, adding that it was now time to evaluate how bilateral cooperation would continue.
The United States last month delivered five helicopters worth a total of 66 million dollars to Mexico under the Merida Initiative.
The slow release of funds has frustrated top Mexican officials.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon is waging a controversial clampdown on the country's powerful drug gangs, and has deployed some 50,000 troops to fight organized crime since he took office three years ago.
The government blames Mexican drug gangs for more than 15,000 violent deaths in a wave of violence since the clampdown began.

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